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YouthBuild St. Paul Westside Emblem Logo With Blue Background
AmeriCorps Logo in Navy

All GAP School students are enrolled in the YouthBuild St. Paul Westside program. Our YouthBuild program provides students the opportunity to participate in construction and healthcare career pathways, leadership opportunities, community engagement, and the YouthBuild AmeriCorps program.


The YouthBuild St. Paul Westside program is a one- to two-year program that follows the national YouthBuild model where participants earn a high school diploma and acquire career skills and training. Students ages 18-24 engage in career pathway training in construction or healthcare, and students ages 15-17 are enrolled in our pre-YouthBuild program that promotes career exploration and workforce readiness. All students participate in digital literacy, receive job search assistance and job placement/retention support, and learn essential skills that give them an advantage when applying for jobs.


All students enrolled in a career pathway take a Career & College Readiness (CCR) class. Our goal is to increase awareness of high-demand, high-wage careers in the region, particularly those for which we do not currently offer training. If youth are interested in a specific career field, they have the option to advance to the Career Preparation phase, during which the CCR team facilitates job shadowing, internships, connection to external resources, and credentialing. Additionally, our CCR team engages participants in follow-up support for one year after graduating.  


GAP School is a YouthBuild USA affiliate and YouthBuild Americorps member.



Through our YouthBuild construction career pathway, participants build and/or renovate housing for low-income families in our community while gaining experience in a wide variety of construction skills such as carpentry, electrical, framing, insulation, painting, reading blueprints, and environmentally-sustainable construction practices. Our construction pathway utilizes the 50-40-10 model: 50% time spent in education, 40% time in construction skills training and work experience activities, and 10% in leadership development and community service. The program consists of 30 hours per week, with approximately 15 hours spent in classroom education (including career counseling and job placement), 12 hours in on-site workplace skills training, and 3 hours in leadership/community service, on average. During all components of occupational skills training, participants are engaged in both project-based learning (for example, the overall goal of constructing a house) and problem-based learning (participants work in teams to plan specific actions regarding the construction).



GAP School has been operating a successful healthcare career pathway for many years, serving approximately 30 participants per cohort. This career track leads to industry-recognized Certified Nursing Assistant (CNA) credentials and Personal Care Aide (PCA) certificates. During the yearlong program, participants spend the first half of each day working toward their GED or high school diploma, and the rest in healthcare-specific experiential learning. We collaborate with a variety of local employer partners to offer participants hands-on volunteer and apprenticeship opportunities. After graduation, participants work with our Transitions Coordinator, mentors, and our alumni network to pursue and maintain employment in the healthcare industry. GAP School also partners with local colleges to connect program graduates with post-secondary education opportunities.

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